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December 8, 2009

IT Hiring Expected to Increase Early in 2010

A nationwide U.S. survey of chief information officers (CIOs) shows that more employers now plan to hire rather than lay off IT professionals in the first quarter of 2010, with most hiring for entry-level and junior staff in full-time jobs.

The survey found nine in 10 CIOs (89%) plan to keep staffing at about their current levels, but 7% say they will increase the number of employers while 4% expect to decrease their workforce. While the percentage of companies expected to hire is the lowest in two years, the anticipated percentage of layoffs is also the lowest since the first quarter of 2009. In the previous survey -- which asked about hiring plans for the current quarter -- the CIOs anticipating layoffs equaled the number of those expected to hire, at 6% each.

Of the CIOs with hiring plans, the vast majority (81%) plan to hire junior-level staff next quarter, divided about evenly between those with 2 years of experience or less (41%) and those with 2 to 5 years of experience (40%). One in five CIOs who plan to hire new staff expect to recruit senior-level professionals, defined as those with more than 5 years experience.

A majority of the CIOs (58%) who plan to hire next quarter expect to recruit full-time workers, with almost 3 in 10 (28%) expecting to use a mix of full-time and contract hires. Only about 1 in 10 CIOs plan to bring in only contractors.

The survey asked about broad functional expertise and specific IT skills most in demand by CIOs. The functional expertise CIOs consider the most challenging to find among skilled professionals is networking -- technical, not interpersonal -- cited by 1 in 5 respondents (19%).  Another 13% of CIOs say security expertise and 10% say applications development are tough to find in today's workforce.

Specific IT skills, as opposed to functional expertise, cited as most in demand by half or more of the CIO respondents are network administration (70%), end-user desktop support (66%), Windows operating system administration (62%), database management (58%), and wireless network management (52%).

The Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, released last week, is based on telephone interviews with 1400 CIOs during October 2009, randomly selected from companies with 100 employees or more. Robert Half, a staffing company, has conducted the survey quarterly since 1995.

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